Whenever I go to Japan, I’m always procured by my sense of adventure to obtain train passes; plus I see to it that I make the most of it as it can be pricey.
○ Summer 2015 — 7-day JR Pass + 48hr Tokyo Metro Pass + Keisei Liner (One-way)
○ Autumn 2016 — 5-day Kansai Wide Pass
○ Early Spring 2018 — 5-day Kansai Wide Pass
○ Early Autumn 2018 — 3-day Tokyo Wide Pass + 72hr Tokyo Metro Pass + 24hr Tokyo Metro Pass + Keisei Liner (One-way)
This time, I got my Tokyo Subway Passes via Klook. Check it out, oh and also shamelessly plugging my referral code: https://www.klook.com/invite/6COO6?c=PHP
My 2nd Japan trip for the year was unexpected (I swear!).. it was honestly a challenging effort to set time and a decent budget for it! Khalid announced his asian tour around July and all I can think about is to see him perform no matter what. One lazy Sunday afternoon in August, I had a moment of weakness as my impulsivity took over. I opened a tab, looked for a roundtrip ticket, picked up my phone as the screen confirmation illuminates into view while I message my friend (who’s also going to Japan around that time) and typed: “Welp~ looks like I’m going to Tokyo”.
So ya girl got 2 months to prepare for her itinerary (spoiler alert, I went rogue). The sense of responsibility kicked in and I realized that I need to balance my wants vs. my needs. Originally, I wanted to be as frugal as possible.. but I’ve been in constant conflict with my indecisiveness prior to my October trip.
Option 1: Don’t get any pass at all. Just stay in Tokyo for a week.
Option 2: 3 days of wandering outer-Tokyo then 4 days of city life.
Option 3: Make it rain, get the 7-day JR Pass, go to Shirakawa-Go village. Abandon all logic.
After a lot of mad computing over milk tea and comparing train passes (JR-East offers a variety of passes to suit your needs. You can view them here). I settled for the JR Tokyo Wide Pass.
Where to avail: Since I’ll arrive in Narita, it would make sense to avail it at the airport. I got to arrive around 19:30, so naturally I missed the JR-East Travel Service Center as it closes at 20:00. To my relief, there’s another JR Ticket Office 15 steps away.
How I f-d up my sched: I assumed it would be like the Kansai Wide Area. A handy ticket you can use automatically at the turnstile (works for local trains and the Shinkansen)..
Instead it was like a 7-day JR Pass where you show your pass to a train staff in order to ride the train.
The reason why I freaked out is because the Kansai Wide Pass allows you 120 hours of use whereas the Tokyo Wide Pass strictly gives you 3 days only. Confusing? Let me explain:
Since I activated the pass on October 23rd (20:30), I assumed that the last day of use will be on October 26th (20:30) but instead it ended on October 25. The staff reminded me over and over that it will end on the 25th, I guess I was too dazed from the flight that I just kept on nodding. In order to make the most out of this pass is to use it as early as possible. If you use/activate it around 10PM, you have only have 2 hours left for your Day 1 of the pass. Hope that makes sense.
JR-East Tokyo Wide Pass Price: JP¥ 10,000 (US$ 88.65)
My original itinerary under the Tokyo Wide Pass:
October 23: Use NEX to travel to Tokyo Station from Narita (Day .5)
October 24: Hitachi Seaside Park (Day .5)
October 25: Gunma (Day 2)
October 26: Yokohama (Day 3)
October 23: Use NEX to travel to Tokyo Station from Narita (Day 1)
October 24: Hitachi Seaside Park (Day 2)
October 25: Yokohama (Day 3)
Anyway, it was from JR-East’s site where I learned about Hitachi Seaside Park. These are the stations I can go to with the Tokyo Wide Pass:
I was in time for the Kochia to turn red! Note that this excursion is a time-sensitive activity, you can have a look at the forecast I got from their site, so plan accordingly 🙂
Fun tip: You can monitor the status of the place you’ll go to through Instagram as well. For example, I check IG every week with the hashtag #HitachiSeasidePark. Instagram will aggregate relevant photos attached with the keyword you’ve searched with. Just make sure that you view via the Recent tab.
The roundtrip bus fare + park ticket reasonably costs ¥1,080.
From Tokyo, take a train to Katsuta Station, from there take the bus just outside the station. You can’t miss it! It’s a 20-minute ride from the station to the park.
I swear I heard about 10 すごい’s from the locals (“Wonderful” in Japanese). It is, it really is. I couldn’t describe it. I’m so glad I came. The weather was perfect even though the weather app said it would rain. After the kochia hill, personally there’s nothing much to see after that since the spotlight for early autumn were the red cypresses.
Spent 2.5 hours exploring the Kochia Hill + the woods. I went back to the entrance to catch the bus to the station bound for Tokyo. It will take you approximately 2 hours each way from Tokyo.
Narita to Tokyo Station (JR): ¥3,020
Tokyo Station to Kanda Station (JR): ¥140
Kanda Station to Katsuta Station (JR): ¥3,820 (via Hitachi-Tokiwa limited express)
Roundtrip bus + park ticket: ¥1,080
Brunch + snacks: ¥1,200
Katsuta Station to Kanda Station (JR): ¥3,820 (via Hitachi-Tokiwa limited express)
Oct 23 & 24 Total: ¥13,080
JR trains only: ¥10,800 (covered by the JR-East Tokyo Wide pass)
As you can see, I’ve already used the amount I paid for the Tokyo Wide Pass.